By on July 25, 2017

2018 Honda Ridgeline - Image: HondaSuggesting that the automaker is “providing a more compelling value,” American Honda is removing the second-from-the-bottom RTS trim level from the 2018 Honda Ridgeline lineup and extinguishing the all-wheel-drive option on basic RT Ridgelines.

As a result, after a 2017 run in which all-wheel-drive Ridgelines could be purchased for $32,315, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline AWD now has a base price $3,695 higher than before.

$36,010.

If the unibody 2017 Honda Ridgeline, an undeniably compelling (if not convincing) package was already not fully capable of swaying most pickup truck customers, the 2018 Honda Ridgeline AWD’s price is now $3,950 more costly than the Toyota Tacoma SR 4×4 Double Cab, $4,045 pricier than the Chevrolet Colorado WT 4×4, and $7,010 more expensive than the Nissan Frontier S 4×4 Crew Cab.

Granted, there’s not a direct equipment comparison between the 2018 Honda Ridgeline Sport AWD and those basic editions of competing body-on-frame pickup trucks. In the $36,010 Ridgeline Sport AWD, there’s a 7.3-cubic-foot in-bed trunk, NBA-style legroom, proximity access, pushbutton start, tri-zone auto climate control, and peerless ride quality.

But we’ve seen how limited the Ridgeline’s sway is in America’s pickup truck arena. Yes, it’s been limited by capacity the Alabama assembly plant where Honda also builds Odysseys, Pilots, and Acura MDXs. Yes, it’s grabbing market share, accounting for 9 percent of America’s midsize pickup truck market in 2017; up from 1 percent a year ago. But 99 percent — literally 99 percent — of pickup truck buyers choose something other than the Ridgeline.

Making the AWD Ridgeline more expensive to get into doesn’t sound like a recipe for greater marketplace success. Honda says the streamlining of the Ridgeline lineup will “better suit the needs of midsize truck buyers.” But what’ll it do for midsize truck buyers who want an affordable Honda with all-wheel drive?

According to Honda public relations manager James Jenkins, there haven’t really been any customers for affordable AWD Ridgelines because Honda wasn’t building them. In keeping with Honda’s typical formula, the early product mix coming out of the Lincoln, Alabama assembly plant was initially biased toward more costly trims. “But even after the launch, the demand for the top trims remained very high,” Jenkins tells TTAC.

In other words, though Honda isn’t selling huge numbers of Ridgelines, the Ridgelines Honda is selling are of the pricier variety. Thus, says Jenkins, “It wasn’t that they [RT and RTS AWD Ridgelines] weren’t selling.  We essentially weren’t making many of them to begin with, as the demand for them was low.”
2018 Honda Ridgeline Sport AWD in Lunar Silver Metallic - Image: HondaAcross the remaining elements of the 2018 Ridgeline lineup, price changes are minor, amount to around $150 increases across the board.

Lest we forget, pricing was considered a problem with the first-generation Honda Ridgeline, a pickup that became progressively less popular during its decade-long run. After peaking in 2006, the first Ridgeline suffered year-over-year U.S. sales declines in five consecutive years, plunging more than 80 percent in the process.

It’s not difficult to see that Honda is once again positioning the Ridgeline in what many conventional pickup truck buyers will consider an uncomfortable price bracket. It’s important, if Honda is going to remove affordability from the Ridgeline AWD’s character traits, that Honda doesn’t afflict the second Ridgeline with another first-gen fault: a striking lack of updates. In America’s hugely active truck sector, Honda can’t leave the uncomfortably pricey second-generation Ridgeline alone for three years, let alone five or ten like last time.

Meanwhile, across the northern border, all Honda Ridgelines come standard with all-wheel drive. The basic Ridgeline LX model is priced at the USD equivalent of $30,891.

[Images: Honda]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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64 Comments on “Honda Ridgeline AWD Takes a Huge Price Jump for 2018 – Is Honda Shooting It in the Foot Again?...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    Meh; if they are capacity constrained, and easily selling every vehicle that plant can build, why NOT dump lower-profit trims? Yeah, it’ll hurt the Ridgeline marketshare, but maybe that means they’ll be able to build more Pilots and Odyssey Elites.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryan

      I’m inline with your train of thought. It’s a niche vehicle, one that I don’t understand but it sells decently enough to it’s niche.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      It’s in demand; the dealers want every one they can get, and they especially want higher trimmed copies. Buyers are paying extra for the higher trim just to get their hands on one now.

      In another year, they’ll quietly re-introduce a $32K AWD version.

      And the reason it’s popular, is because it’s a great truck.

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Probably the people buying the low spec 4WD trims of those other trucks are contractors. Contractors are not really shopping for Ridgelines.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      It’s rare that ordinary people buy new low spec trucks of any kind. As you say it’s mostly contractors and the Ridgeline even more so. Reaaly low spec commmercial trucks are better suited as Transits and the such.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think the “low spec” Ridgeline is still pretty well equipped, in line with a cloth-XLT F150 or LT Chevy, SR5 Tundra, etc.

        I do think that many people buying these are interested in a high-spec leather trimmed variant, add in the capacity constraint and this decision is sort of a no-brainer for increasing profits in the short term. Maybe if capacity increases a lower trim will return.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    There has to be more to the story. What was available in a top trim that a lower trim buyer might want? Maybe it’s SXM radio which is a $7000 option as one has to move way up the model chart to get such a simple option.

  • avatar
    brettc

    How do they know demand was low if they weren’t making them? The logic does not compute. I guess people were just doing the loaded trims because that’s all there was and throwing it on an 84 month finance term?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Because the dealers weren’t screaming at them that they needed more FWD inventory because people were balking at the price of the 4wd version. Yes in the initial production run the mfg sets the mix and most tend to go heavy on the higher margin vehicles initially. However if the dealer can’t move those higher margin vehicles and instead sell out the lower trims they aren’t going to replace that low trim unit that actually sold to clog their lot with more high trim vehicles that aren’t selling.

      So they know there was low demand because there was low demand from their customer, the dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Dealerships have gotten bad at screwing both their customers and their OEMs. I think it’s time the OEMs took over the invoicing and ship a moderately even mix to see where the REAL demand is, rather than relying on a dealer-manufactured demand. If those high-end units aren’t selling while they sell out of lower-end units, doesn’t that mean the real profit is in those lower-end units?

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      The plant’s running flat-out and selling every vehicle it’s capable of producing. If they can build an AWD Ridgeline, Odyssey Elite, or whatever a top-end Pilot’s called instead of a lower-profit FWD Ridgeline, then it doesn’t matter how many people do or don’t want that lower trim.

      (And Honda definitely doesn’t care how many people take out stupid loans on them, as long as Honda isn’t holding the bag if the owner defaults. (I don’t think Honda delves as deeply into the sub-prime market as many other makers.))

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Eat it proles. All your AWD are belong to us.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    I don’t like the Ridgeline at all for REAL truck uses.
    (It’s kind of a 21st Century version of the Ford Ranchero in the 1980’s: Yeah, that didn’t fly
    either.)
    1) No Manual Transmission.
    2) Access to spare tire is ridiculous, especially when loaded.
    3) Spare tire is a donut, not a full-size spare: it can’t use when with loaded bed on long return trip.
    4) Towing in only 5K lbs, whereas competition is 7K-7.8K lbs.
    5) No solid frame for serious off-road use, nor ability to modify current non-frame.
    6) Frame Is enhanced Unibody: when it rusts out 15 years from now, how much vehicle do you have left?
    7) Delicate independent rear suspension limits articulation for off-road use: need solid axle.
    8) Door opening is WAY too small for big guys.
    9) Price for nicely equipped version is too high: spending $5K more gets a full-size real pickup truck.
    10) Does not have a bed separate from the cab, but continuous with it like the Pilot.
    11) Could not pass the wet “cow-manure test”, for fear of liquid seeping into the in-bed trunk as the gaskets age.
    12) No selectable “low range” for actual 4WD via a real transfer case.
    13) Market acceptance is marginal: sales thru June = 18,596; whereas Tacoma showed 94,596 in sales.
    14) Commitment concern: will this vehicle be here 5 years hence, or will Honda quit, as it had done before.

    Is this vehicle a piece of crap? No, it is at least a Honda.
    It’s good for suburbanites getting mulch at Home Depot.
    It’s good for suburbanites tailgating and drinking beer at the local football game parking lot.
    But if I had $42K-$48 to spend in this segment, it would be for a real truck, not a delicate
    pseudo-trucklet.

    ==============================

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That ‘delicate pseudo-trucklet’ fared better than the Tacoma or Titan in Edmunds’ tough off-road test in Death Valley:

      https://www.edmunds.com/honda/ridgeline/2017/long-term-road-test/2017-honda-ridgeline-death-valley-post-mortem.html

      You’re right – it’s not a 5th-wheel puller, etc. – but Honda isn’t pretending that it is. Plenty of people will find it’s perfect for their needs.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy Cain

        That Edmunds test is eye opening, not just from the Ridgeline. More so from the perspective off other trucks with added features that should have made them more suitable to the terrain.

        • 0 avatar
          NMGOM

          Timothy – – –

          You’ll notice that the water is about 2″ deep, and the trucklet is moving quickly on a limestone shelf? My BMW Z4 could do that!

          ===================

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        SCE to AUX – – –

        S: “That ‘delicate pseudo-trucklet’ fared better than the Tacoma or Titan in Edmunds’ tough off-road test in Death Valley…”

        Yeah. Once. Tell me about its survivability, with repeated runs using the same truck 10 year from now. I doubt that the Tacoma would lose, since even ISIS uses them by preference in desert environments.

        S: “Plenty of people will find it’s perfect for their needs.”

        ….as would they for many other SUVS’s, since they didn’t need a real ruck in the 1st place …(^_^).
        The sales numbers quoted above tell the whole story for people who do…

        =====================

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          NMGOM,
          Some of the most enduring and reliable vehicles are not pickups or a vehicle sitting on a full frame chassis.

          I do believe your paradigms regarding what makes a vehicle sturdy is naïve.

          You don’t require a huge full chassis V8 powered vehicle to be reliable and good in a harsh environment.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Exactly what IS a “real truck”, NMGOM? Is it a super-luxo-barge with an open back porch or is it a working machine USED for work and not as a status symbol?

          If you ask me, unless you absolutely need the ludicrous power, hauling and towing capacity of the typical half-ton-plus pickup, all you’ve got is a status symbol that costs far more than it’s really worth.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Big Al From Oz and Vulpine – – –

            Perhaps I can address some of your concerns, ignorances, and misconceptions simultaneously. This could be termed “Killing two birds wth one stone”, but I didn’t really say that. (^_^)….

            ——————-

            But before I waste a great deal of my time – – –
            First: Are either of you actually pickup truck owners AND drivers?
            Second: Do either of you live outside of America?

            If your answer to the first is “NO” and/or your answer to the second is “YES”, then you have little credibility in making any comments about American pickup-truck design, features, and preferences.

            —————-

            BA: “Some of the most enduring and reliable vehicles are not pickups or a vehicle sitting on a full frame chassis.”

            Well, if “some” equals two, then that’s true; otherwise, No. Eight out ten longest lasting vehicles in America are either pickup trucks or SUV vehicles based on a similar ladder-frame chassis:
            http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2017/05/top-10-longest-lasting-vehicles-in-america.html

            BA: “I do believe your paradigms regarding what makes a vehicle sturdy is naïve.”

            And I do believe you have no knowledgable basis for assuming that. Where did you get that? How old are you? How long have you been driving? And which vehicles do you have direct experience with?

            BA: “You don’t require a huge full chassis V8 powered vehicle to be reliable and good in a harsh environment.”

            V-8 engine? – No. But full ladder-frame chassis? – Yes. However, “harsh environment” needs to be defined. I will choose three, and you can check whether ladder-frame (Jeep or Pickup) is the predominant feature:
            1) Rubicon Trail (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubicon_Trail)
            2) Moab, Utah (https://utah.com/atv/moab-offroad-trails)
            3) Georgia Mud slogging (http://www.soggybottommp.com)

            V: “Exactly what IS a “real truck”, NMGOM?”

            Well, glad you asked.

            A) I once wrote a humorous tongue-in cheek rant to friend who asked me the same question. It goes like this:

            “Look: a pickup truck is a truck; a garbage truck is a truck; an 18-wheeler is a truck; a military deuce-and-a-half is a truck. What do these uniquely have in common?

            a) a solid, separate robust FRAME; and…
            b) a CAB SEPARATE from a hauling compartment, either bed or trailer; and…
            c) The ability to fill the hauling compartment with COW MANURE, and then wash it out with a high-pressure garden hose later, and smell nothing in the cab!

            So, is an SUV a pickup truck? NO, it’s an SUV, which is why it’s called “SUV”. Can it be happily filled with cow manure? I wouldn’t. (The Ridgeline is essentially a Honda Pilot with the backend missing, sort of half an SUV (^_^). And yes, those gaskets in the trunk box WILL leak after a few years: want to put your hot dogs in there for a picnic?)

            Is a VAN a pickup truck? NO, it’s a VAN, which is why it lives in a separate category called “VAN”. Can it be joyfully filled with cow manure? You’re kidding, right? Did you want to sleep on the sofa, again?

            Hey, this is not rocket science.
            Sorry. Rant over. But it was fun, wasn’t it?’

            B) A real pickup truck can also be thought of in this way:

            “In a previous discussion with XXXX, I talked about “Essence of Truckiness”, a hard-to-define term that embodies most of what you mentioned (““heavy duty,” “heavy,” “powerful,” “frame,” “towing,” “V8,” “diesel,” “overbuilt,” “off road,””).

            But “truckiness” may go beyond even those, of course. It may be additionally definable in two ways:

            1) Experientially: “When you see it, you know it”, like the smell of fresh earth when the rain begins to fall. (How does one “define” that”, even with a gas chromatograph?)

            2) Demonstratively: The “via negativa”, — the defining of something by what it is not. (A real pickup truck is NOT: a sedan, a hatch-back, an SUV, a crossover, a bicycle, a scooter, a Ridgeline, a dump truck, a semi [tractor trailer], etc..)
            And if you continue and are complete enough with all other vehicles, pretty soon all that is left is a real pickup truck, and you’ve got it!”

            There are other things (hauling and Towing minimums) that can be sued to define a real pickup truck, but I’ll let those go for now.

            BA: “So, what are real truck uses?”

            A) Unique uses:

            1) Hauling greater than 1200 lbs* of heavy stuff (building supplies, etc.)
            2) Towing greater than 7000 lbs** of trailer plus most of the load above.
            3) Hauling load-materials that maybe objectionable if they were in the same enclosed space (as in a van). Ex: Cow manure.
            4) Superb Off-Road capability to access and haul heavy supplies to remote locations, with marginal or no trails.
            5) Large ground clearance and traction aids to deal with deep snow and icy roads.
            6) Camper adaptability — to hold a slide-in camper when needed.

            ————
            * 1800 lbs for Full-size 1/2 ton pickups;
            ** 10,000 lbs for Full size 1/2 ton pickups
            ————

            B) Incidental Uses:

            1) Safe Daily Driver
            2) Comfortable all-weather cruising vehicle for long trips
            3) Errands, like shopping.

            BA: “The world has moved on from 40-50 years ago, pickups are not used as a work vehicle by 75% of their owners.”

            So what? It is the spirit of American independence and the POTENTIAL to do all the Unique things above that are the driving forces behind the pickup truck revolution.

            ———————–

            V: “• I don’t like the Ridgeline at all for REAL truck uses.
            —- I address this one later.”

            I am not even going to address your specious comments in this section. You are intentionally finding unreasonable AND un-knowledgeable things to rationalize and nitpick about, without any substance.

            Example 1 = Flat Tire Change: “And it’s any easier when it hangs under the back end of the truck and you still have to unload it just to jack it up enough to get the tire out”.?
            Did you ever change a flat rear tire in a real, loaded pickup truck? The jack, jack wrench, and boards are in the cab under or behind the seats. It is no problem. For a Ridgeline filled with cow manure, it’s a disaster.

            Example 2 = Spare Donut Tire: “Hardly important if you take proper care of your tires.”
            Wow. Talk about ignorance. The Ridgeline’s donut is not certified to be driven SLOWLY more than 70 miles with an EMPTY vehicle, and is not certified to haul a full load at all!*** If you get a flat with a heavily laden Ridgeline, you’re screwed. If on-road, call AAA for a tow truck. If off-road, you’re still screwed: wear gas mask and start shoveling (if you even have a shovel).
            ref – – –
            http://www.autoblog.com/2010/04/16/donut-spare-tire/
            http://autocollisionutah.com/long-can-drive-spare-doughnut-tire/
            http://owners.honda.com/vehicles/information/2017/Ridgeline/specs#mid^YK2F2HEW

            —————-
            *** This is something Honda does NOT reveal on its website. It came from a Honda service technician, whom I asked.
            —————-

            ==========================

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “But before I waste a great deal of my time – – –”
            • First: Are either of you actually pickup truck owners AND drivers? — YES
            • Second: Do either of you live outside of America? — NO

            Here is where I begin to disagree with you:
            • Look: a pickup truck is a truck; —- Or is used as a personal vehicle.
            • a garbage truck is a truck; —- And is not used as a personal vehicle.
            • an 18-wheeler is a truck; —- And is not used as a personal vehicle.
            • a military deuce-and-a-half is a truck. —- And is not used as a personal vehicle.

            • What do these uniquely have in common?
            a) a solid, separate robust FRAME; —- Not necessarily.
            b) a CAB SEPARATE from a hauling compartment, either bed or trailer; —- Not necessarily.
            c) The ability to fill the hauling compartment with COW MANURE, —- Not necessarily.
            d) and then wash it out with a high-pressure garden hose later, and smell nothing in the cab! —- Not necessarily. You leave a LOT of common vehicles out in that description, INCLUDING many non-BOF AND BOF vehicles out in that argument that are classified as trucks. Many of these “trucks,” absolutely are used as personal vehicles as well as working vehicles. I will note that NONE of the vehicles you mention outside of the pickup truck, IS a pickup truck. This invalidates every argument you’ve made so far.

            “So, is an SUV a pickup truck? NO, it’s an SUV, which is why it’s called “SUV”.” —- I’ll agree with that. None of them have an open bed either… except the Jeep, which can be totally open from nose to tail without any specific modification and CAN do everything you said about “trucks” above about “fill the hauling compartment out with cow manure and then wash it out with a high-pressure garden hose later and smell nothing in the cab.”

            • Can it be happily filled with cow manure? I wouldn’t. —- Why not? It is an open bed and it can easily be washed out with a high-pressure garden hose. Even better, it won’t rust out because you did so, either.
            • (The Ridgeline is essentially a Honda Pilot with the backend missing, sort of half an SUV (^_^). —- That could be seen as an advantage by many who actually want an open bed without all the DISADVANTAGES of a conventional pickup truck.
            • And yes, those gaskets in the trunk box WILL leak after a few years: want to put your hot dogs in there for a picnic?) —- You’ll have to prove that statement. Did you know that “trunk”, too, can be washed out with a high-pressure garden hose? Just how soon are you expecting that gasket to fail, by the way? One year? Two years? Five years? Ten?

            “Is a VAN a pickup truck? NO, it’s a VAN, which is why it lives in a separate category called “VAN”. Can it be joyfully filled with cow manure? You’re kidding, right? Did you want to sleep on the sofa, again?” —- But a van IS classified as a truck, whether it’s BOF or not. Even one of the Chrysler minivans is expressly classified as a truck as it is used to do truck things. Though I agree that it’s not a pickup truck.

            As for your description of “the essence of truckiness”, well, that really depends. I can show you a photograph of a supposed BOF non-truck being used for truck things: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/1959_El_Camino.jpg
            In other words, you don’t have to look like a truck to BE a truck. It’s in how it’s used, not what it looks like.

            A) Unique uses:

            1) Hauling greater than 1200 lbs* of heavy stuff (building supplies, etc.) —- That El Camino above looks like it’s hauling about that much in pumpkins.

            2) Towing greater than 7000 lbs** of trailer plus most of the load above. —- Or not, since so many pickup trucks NEVER tow that much load.

            3) Hauling load-materials that maybe objectionable if they were in the same enclosed space (as in a van). Ex: Cow manure. —- Or pumpkins?

            4) Superb Off-Road capability to access and haul heavy supplies to remote locations, with marginal or no trails. —- Ummm… a LOT of pickup trucks never go off-road. 4×4 is NOT a definer of what is a truck and what isn’t.

            5) Large ground clearance and traction aids to deal with deep snow and icy roads. —- Or not, since not every pickup truck comes from the factory with “large ground clearance and traction aids…”

            6) Camper adaptability — to hold a slide-in camper when needed. —- About that… http://www.phoenixpopup.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/el-ranchero.jpg

            “B) Incidental Uses:”

            1) Safe Daily Driver
            2) Comfortable all-weather cruising vehicle for long trips
            3) Errands, like shopping.
            —- And exactly what keeps the Ridgeline or even an El Camino from doing any of these?

            “V: “• I don’t like the Ridgeline at all for REAL truck uses.
            —- I address this one later.”
            “I am not even going to address your specious comments in this section. You are intentionally finding unreasonable AND un-knowledgeable things to rationalize and nitpick about, without any substance.”
            —- It seems you’re the one coming up with off-the-wall arguments. So far you haven’t proven that the Ridgeline is any less of a pickup truck than the others and have obviously admitted it can do more in many ways, AS LONG AS YOU STAY WITHIN ITS LOAD LIMITS. Then again, a lot of people are complaining about the Ram PICKUP TRUCK that can’t even carry more than 700# or tow more than 5000#. And what about the Ford Raptor, is IT a pickup truck? It certainly can’t carry much load and even its towing capacity is limited. Yet the Raptor seems the epitome of pickup-truck-ness for some people.

            And your final argument is as specious as the rest; it all sounds good but what is the likelihood it will ever actually happen?

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            Vulpine – – –

            You are wasting my time. You just don’t get it. Specious argruments again.
            But sales numbers don’t lie, and the sales slope for the Ridgeline is DECREASING, the ONLY truck manufacturer to show that behavior in the 2017 calendar year. Check the GoodCarBadCar website:
            http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/p/sales-stats.html

            Analogy: I cant describe to you the virtue of speaking French, in French, if you don’t know French. It’s all that simple. You don’t understand “truckiness”…

            The failing Ridgeline is the 21st Century version for the failing Ford Ranchero of the 20th Century. Period.

            =====================

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            The specious arguments, NMGOM, have all been yours. Every single statement made was an excuse or some other obvious attempt to exclude one single vehicle from your definition of a truck.

            I don’t care what their sales numbers are–that doesn’t make a vehicle any more or less of a truck than anything else. For a while, even the Nissan Frontier had worse sales numbers, yet you still acknowledge it as a truck.

            Fine. You don’t like it? You don’t have to. That still doesn’t mean it can’t do truck things for people who don’t want or need a vehicle built for commercial duty, even if they’re called “light duty” vehicles. Today’s full-sized pickups in particular no longer strictly qualify for light duty–both Ford and GM have been forced to ‘cheat’ by removing parts just to stay within that light-duty class with some of their models. And honestly, I’m waiting to see how well the aluminum Fords hold up over time because their durability in any kind of ‘real work’ environment seems questionable to me.

            Honda calls the Ridgeline a truck. The media calls the Ridgeline a truck. The many different vehicle review magazines and websites call the Ridgeline a truck. Even the many different national governments call the Ridgeline a truck. So you’re the ONLY one who is right?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      NMGOM,
      So, what are real truck uses?

      I really think your view on what a pickup is in the 21st Century is very outdated, sort of like viewing a horse. A horse used to be used as a beast of burden. Now they are like a pickup, recreational, not a work vehicle.

      The world has moved on from 40-50 years ago, pickups are not used as a work vehicle by 75% of their owners.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        The RL is a better truck than the ones I grew up with and far, far more capable than those trucks. I’m talking about Rangers, S-10s, Datsuns and Tacomas.

        It is not a threat to the F-350 in any way.

        By the tool that fits your needs and enjoy. This is an extension of the endless debate about Ford / Chevy / Dodge.

        I don’t care who wins that debate.

        If I needed a truck today it would probably be a new RL. It tows more than I regularly tow. It hauls enough. AWD gets the job done. Its a Honda and Honda has been very good for my family since the early 80s – lawnmowers, motorcycles, generators, and vehicles.

        If I needed a big truck to tow/deliver heavy equipment regularly I would not rely on a consumer grade $50K luxury pickup. I’d buy a work truck of some sort. They are all good IMHO at this point in history. At work I regularly drive an Intl Terrastar.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      • I don’t like the Ridgeline at all for REAL truck uses.
      —- I address this one later.

      • (It’s kind of a 21st Century version of the Ford Ranchero in the 1980’s: Yeah, that didn’t fly
      either.)
      —- The Ranchero’s style went to crap after the early ’70s.

      • 1) No Manual Transmission.
      —- 95% of drivers don’t care.

      • 2) Access to spare tire is ridiculous, especially when loaded.
      —- And it’s any easier when it hangs under the back end of the truck and you still have to unload it just to jack it up enough to get the tire out (assuming a rear flat?)

      • 3) Spare tire is a donut, not a full-size spare: it can’t use when with loaded bed on long return trip.
      —- Hardly important if you take proper care of your tires. A large proportion of vehicles are either eliminating the spare entirely (weight savings) or putting them inside the vehicle one way or another for security. You’d be surprised how many truck spares are getting stolen lately because they hang unsecured under a high chassis, making them easy to access (when the other tires are fully inflated.)

      • 4) Towing in only 5K lbs, whereas competition is 7K-7.8K lbs.
      —- If you don’t tow at all, who really cares? More than 50% of “real trucks” never tow anywhere near their rated capacity even once during their lifetime.

      • 5) No solid frame for serious off-road use, nor ability to modify current non-frame.
      —- Doesn’t seem to matter all that much any more. Most trucks are never used for “serious” off-road use anyway. The Ridgeline is as capable of reaching most soft-road worksites as any other non-modified 4×4 pickup.

      • 6) Frame Is enhanced Unibody: when it rusts out 15 years from now, how much vehicle do you have left?
      —- What makes you so sure it will rust out?

      • 7) Delicate independent rear suspension limits articulation for off-road use: need solid axle.
      —- Why? It seems a lot of vehicles are going independent suspension nowadays, including trucks.

      • 8) Door opening is WAY too small for big guys.
      —- You’re kidding, right?

      • 9) Price for nicely equipped version is too high: spending $5K more gets a full-size real pickup truck.
      —- But if that full-sized “real pickup truck” is too big, what does a mere $5K difference mean except $5K savings off the cost of that “real pickup truck.”

      • 10) Does not have a bed separate from the cab, but continuous with it like the Pilot.
      —- What wrong with that? To me that means a much more rigid truck what will be much more stable on the road.

      • 11) Could not pass the wet “cow-manure test”, for fear of liquid seeping into the in-bed trunk as the gaskets age.
      —- And you know this, how? With a composite bed, I find your argument extremely specious.

      • 12) No selectable “low range” for actual 4WD via a real transfer case.
      —- So? It’s not like that selectable low range is ever used except for sport rock crawling or maybe trying to pull or tow an excessive load; neither of which the Ridgeline is designed for. The Ridgeline is designed to be an all-purpose utility vehicle, not a Baja sportster or a stump-pulling farm tractor. Everything it does, it does well; better than most of those purpose-built 4×4 trucks.

      • 13) Market acceptance is marginal: sales thru June = 18,596; whereas Tacoma showed 94,596 in sales.
      —- Market share isn’t everything if you build the best vehicle for the purpose. But a properly-balanced price tag is important.

      • 14) Commitment concern: will this vehicle be here 5 years hence, or will Honda quit, as it had done before.
      —- Honda didn’t quit the first time. Rather, they listened to all the complaints by people like you and addressed them in very effective ways and took their time to do it right. Meanwhile, there’s a lot of older Ridgelines still going strong on the roads.

    • 0 avatar
      zip89123

      I guess no one liked the El Camino or Ranchero either. I’d love to see either reintroduced. My opinion is they’d sell well.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        What’s more, the El Camino (a version) is still sold as a Holden in in Australia.

        Not like GM would have to start over completely. The engineering is done.

        I would much rather share the roads with these than the freight train sized 4×4 pickups. ;)

  • avatar
    mriach77

    The top photo looks to be forced perspective, of an off road excursion.

    Am I meant to think: look at that Ridgeline…it’s…it’s fording a river… at the edge of a waterfall even?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There are some few roads where a ford has been built in place of a bridge. This looks like one of those places. I won’t argue the forced perspective portion though; it’s a common technique to enhance the composition of the image.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      mriach77 – – –

      (I mean to post this for you, but responded to Timothy erroneously. I would help to get a good night’s sleep!))

      You’ll notice that the water is about 2″ deep, and the trucklet is moving quickly on a limestone shelf? My BMW Z4 could do that!

      ===================

  • avatar
    Jean-Pierre Sarti

    i live in the deeeeep south where trucks are king, my neighbor is one of those buyers who gets the latest and greatest longhorn platinum texas high sierra country edition every few years. never mind his truck never sees a dirt road much less tows or carries anything. it boggles my mind why the ridgeline wouldn’t be more suited to his needs, especially with his bad back.

    he’s living proof that truck sales are more than just about capability, reliability, usefulness etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Because it doesn’t ooze ballz!

      How can you own a pickup without ballz?

      It’s not a man’s vehicle.

      Pickups are really a statement to many who drive them.

      I would assume most have tiny d!cks and no ballz, hence the need to promote the façade of BALLZ!!!!!!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I have to agree that Honda is hurting themselves with this move; I know they’ve just removed ME as a potential customer. Again I shall wait for something smaller or choose a compact SUV rather than a pickup if they follow up on this decision.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Vulpine,
      How can Honda be hurting themselves?

      How much will it cost Honda to build a new line?

      I do believe it’s a good move on Honda’s part.

      I don’t think Honda would of had some flunky make this decision.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      There is no way you’d buy any truck that large, as the old Ranger is about your max size. So let’s not pretend you were a potential Ridgeline customer. Mkay ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        When you’re getting to the point to where you’ll settle for the best available, yes, I was seriously considering the Honda despite its size… because it’s lower, shorter and better equipped in the ways I would want it equipped for the money. My biggest complaint about it is the width and the fact that even it doesn’t fit my wife behind the wheel as well as she’d like. But not at such an increase in price.

        Looks like I’m stuck with either the Jeep JL pickup (probably about the same price and so questionable option at best) or a compact SUV… like maybe putting a new Renegade beside the wife’s and forget about having an open bed. I’ve got three years to decide unless I garner a windfall somewhere but the odds of me getting what I want seem slimmer by the month.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Wait a year or two and buy one used. You get the options and the lower price. 30K miles – pffft! No big deal.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Problem there, JA, is that I’ve had 100% bad luck with used cars. Have always had to either spend more than they’re worth to keep them running or had them break down irrevocably, requiring new engines or more. Buying new, they last 10 years and longer on average.

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    Serious question time. What are the discounts like on the smaller trucks since I’ve never seriously shopped for one? $36K can get you a very nice full-size after the obligatory $10k off MSRP. I’m not debating whether or not this class of trucks would make more sense for a lot of people, just curious about the financial gap.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The discounts aren’t that good on the mid size trucks. In the Detroit area at least, comparably equipped V6 Colorados were going for more than my V8 Silverado.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Maybe Honda has made a very smart move.

    Why would you ramp up production when the ass is going to fall out of the market soon?

    So, why not make the more profitable model?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Dicey move on Honda’s part for what many consider to be a weenie truck. Don’t get me wrong, I like this new Ridgeline and would prefer it over the gargantuan size of the Detroit Three majordomo’s – but not at this price point.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Hey, a case where Canada receives something less expensive than in the US.

    Good fer you!

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      It’s not just less expensive, the Canadian version in the upper trims comes with ventilated seats, a heated windshield wiper system, rain sensing wipers AND it costs less money.

      Honda is basically just taking advantage of US customers, lame as hell. If they’re gonna raise the price they need to bring these features over.

  • avatar
    George B

    The overwhelming majority of pickup trucks sold here in Texas are two wheel drive models. 4 wheel drive and all wheel drive has always been understood to be an extra cost option. Not sure how far north you have to go before two wheel drive becomes the minority choice, but my guess is it’s somewhere around I-70.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    “So? It’s not like that selectable low range is ever used except for sport rock crawling or maybe trying to pull or tow an excessive load; neither of which the Ridgeline is designed for. The Ridgeline is designed to be an all-purpose utility vehicle, not a Baja sportster or a stump-pulling farm tractor. Everything it does, it does well; better than most of those purpose-built 4×4 trucks.”

    I’ll take you to task on this one. A true mechanical transfer-case based 4wd system has proven to be the most dependable and durable method for power delivery in automobiles in a variety of use-scenarios, many outside of “sport rock crawling.”

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I will refer you to Pickup Trucks dot com’s mid-size challenge made early this year. The Ridgeline outperformed ALL of the other, dedicated transfer case models in all of the off-road tests but one… won by the Tacoma.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Uh, that’s a rather strange conclusion to draw from that comparison (linked below):

        news.pickuptrucks.com/2016/08/2016-midsize-pickup-challenge-off-road-performance.html

        “As impressive as the system seemed, there were some noteworthy features missing that made us skeptical of the Ridgeline’s ability to make it through the day unscathed. It didn’t have a low range and its ground clearance was not impressive, with much of the unibody exposed underneath to rocks and other obstacles”

        “However, there are shortcomings to the Ridgeline: Its all-wheel-drive system, while impressive, is more suited for all-weather conditions than all-terrain obstacles. Williams said that, “As surprising as the system was when compared to other, more traditional hill and rock climbers, the Ridgeline will always be a risky choice if you go anywhere further than a dirt road or smooth sand dune. Any rutted or off-camber terrain or rocks will seriously threaten the exposed underbelly.”

        How anyone could interpret this as “outperformed all the others in offroad tests” is beyond me.

        I’ll invite any Ridgeline owner to meet up in person and run some trails against my old 4Runner with good old fashioned 4wd hardware (Vulpine you can bring your grocery getter Renegade). I’ll bring the tow strap.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I said it outperformed them and you expressly avoided exactly HOW it outperformed them. Accelerating on sand, an (admittedly modest) hill climb and many other places where it succeeded where the others failed, despite their conventional underpinnings. I never said it was a perfect off-roader, I said it was a superior SOFT roader because it handled the situations better than the others. The Ridgeline is not designed to go where others can’t, it’s designed to get you where you’re going without getting stuck…which seems to be a huge difference.

          Even you quoted, “As surprising as the system was when compared to other, more traditional hill and rock climbers, the Ridgeline will always be a risky choice if you go anywhere further than a dirt road or smooth sand dune.” Which is exactly my point.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “and many other places where it succeeded where the others failed”

            Where were these other places? I only saw the GMC Canyon fail the hillclimb. The Sand acceleration test is never something I’ve heard of as any sort of meaningful or relevant off-road metric. Credit where it is due, the fact that the Ridgeline made the sand-hillclimb is indeed impressive. Throw in any sort of more standard off-road obstacles like larger rock outcroppings, off-camber washouts, the Ridgeline would have been out of its element. TFLtruck actually drove some mild trails out in Colorado in a Ridgeline, Canyon, Tacoma, and Frontier. The clearance and relative mechanical fragility came to bear, the Ridgeline threw a transmission temperature error and they called it quits. The Canyon was left as well as it kept dragging the chin spoiler and they didn’t want to cause cosmetic damage to a dealer vehicle (non-press fleet).

            https://youtu.be/B5eE697aqEg

            It’s one thing to say the Ridgeline is superior to the other midsize trucks in a suburban environment where its on road competence shines, but to think that it’s a serious contender offroad is nothing short of delusional, full stop.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @GTEM: One of the loudest complaints I have heard recently by people who actually USE their trucks for the things you describe has been the fact that once they get into slippery conditions, such as muddy grass of all things, they can’t move. Their ASC systems are so touchy that they simply will not move if the ground is too soft; this is something no PREVIOUS 4×4 of any type used to complain about but now is rampant among the farmers I know. They Are Pissed!

            You pass off that sand acceleration test (ok, sand drag if you want to call it that) as worthless but it instead proves that the Ridgeline is less likely to get stuck in mud than ANY of the current round of factory-stock pickup trucks. And that is just one of the tests where the Ridgeline came in First in the off-road test of the article in which I directed you towards. In fact, if you will recall, one of those trucks that you so praise came in dead last in the sand drag BECAUSE of the nannies. As I recall (and I know you’ll deny this) I believe the Ridgeline came in first in nearly every one of the off-road trials they put it up against, barring the actual rock climbing, where the Tacoma took first.

            I have never once tried to say it was a serious contender for sport off-roading; I have insisted that it is a superior on-road and soft-road truck because it is less likely to get stuck in circumstances where those others simply didn’t perform as well as they could. The delusion is yours if you think I have ever said otherwise.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            youtu.be/gcqATDtSRi0?t=286

            As soon as some terrain undulations come into play, the Ridgeline is relying solely on its traction control aides, which take some time to figure things out and make for a lot more drama than a BOF/live rear axle 4wd truck.

  • avatar
    mikein541

    The ridgeline is not a real pickup truck. It’s a doctored Odyssey/Pilot.
    If all you want to haul is a few flats of pansies from your local
    nursery, fine. If you want to haul or tow something real, good luck.

    Further, Honda has no idea how to do 4wd/AWD decently. Watch comparisons
    of Honda vs. Subaru to see just how bad Honda is in this regard.

    Honda needs to stick to minivans and sedans. Leave the SUVs and trucks
    to other manufacturers who have some expertise in these types of vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      To be fair, I’d say this Ridgeline could haul something like a half-ton of gravel just fine (like I do with my 110hp Ranger), let alone a bed full of mulch, lumber, etc. I have read that the rear squats down quite a bit with a full payload (1500lb, more than a coil-sprung Ram 1500 is rated for).

      As far as AWD comparisons go, I’ll argue this Ridgeline does better than any current open-diff Subaru. Having said that, both fall well short of more traditional part-time 4wd competition when it comes to serious off-road work (a not-insignificant part of which is articulation related). For slick paved roads? I’ll take a Ridgeline or Subaru over any pickup truck.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      mikein541 – – –

      Exactly. It is not a real truck.

      A fair analogy may be the Ford Ranchero or Chevy El Camino of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
      Neither was even formally defined as a “truck” by Wikipedia reviewers.
      One was labeled a “Utility Coupe”; the other was a “Utility/Pickup Vehicle”.
      No one had the audacity (or foolishness) to think of them as, or use them as, a real truck.

      The Ranchero was a Ford station wagon with a car chassis, and its backend opened up to make a connected box.
      The Ridgeline is a Honda Pilot with an SUV chassis, and its backend removed to add a connected box compartment with some fancy doodads (audio system; sub-floor trunk).

      Again, the market is not fooled. “Proof of the Pudding”: In the first 6 months of this years, Toyota sold 94,596 Tacoma’s; Honda sold 18,596 Ridgeline’s. That’s more than FIVE TIMES as many Tacoma’s…

      Folks who know something about trucks and want a midsize version, get Tacoma’s, Colorado’s, or Frontier’s. They ride like a proper truck; “smell” like a proper truck; go off-road like a proper truck; and haul/tow like a proper truck.

      Folks who don’t know anything about trucks or don’t care, and need to get mulch from Home Depot or a piece of antique furniture from the local auction, could get by with a Ridgeline, — while sipping Kool-Aide sourced from its cutesy sub-floor, ice-filled trunk; and listening to 1960’s jazz from its in-bed “exciters”. Then they can enjoy a nice car-like ride on the way to the latte shop to chat with the ladies.
      How hoity-toity. Makes me want to puke…(^_^)…

      ====================

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I really don’t get the stigma of the Ridgeline buyers somehow being un-informed or somehow less intelligent than “real” truck buyers. Perhaps the Ridgeline people just understand what they really want in a truck. If that’s a comfortable, competent all-weather commuter that can handle all of their suburban hauling needs, what exactly are they missing out on? If someone does not intend to do heavy towing or any sort of offroading, what’s the issue?

        Compared to a Frontier (which I personally rather like) the Honda’s interior is light years roomier and more comfortable, the ride and handling are superior for on-road driving (again, I personally enjoy how “real” trucks drive), the fuel economy is better, slick-road performance is superior, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          RL buyers are just more honest about what they need in a truck.

          They don’t wrap up too much of their identity in what they drive. Who cares what anyone else thinks?

          You guys looking down your nose at someone b/c they didn’t buy a ladder frame truck that they didn’t need that can tow an ocean liner is a hoot.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Honda makes a great AWD system but they put it in the Acura products. It is equal to the Subaru system on the roller test.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I’ve read that the “roller test”, meaning the stationary test machines, tends not to give a realistic reading of the vehicle’s real capabilities. Some do better and others worse on the road compared to the stationary rollers.

  • avatar
    sodathief

    I hope with that new increase one can get a real volume knob.


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